The Williamsport City and County Finance Commission this week considered a resolution authorizing the creation of a small business and nonprofit grant program, and the city allocated $1 million in grants to various applicants.
Mayor Derek Slaughter said this has been in the works for some time and was initially discussed by the city’s economic activation committee. He brought in Jack Reagan, the manager of UHY, a consulting firm that works with the city to adhere to the American Rescue Plan’s funding, to explain the program.
Subsidy program applications, if approved by Congress, will be posted on the City’s website and elsewhere.
UHY does not decide who will be awarded the grant, but will be the first filter to ensure compliance. Decisions are made by the administration and the council.
The purpose is to give the business or non-profit organization time to complete the application by choosing any time frame, such as 30 to 60 days or 45 to 90 days.
Typically, about one-third to one-half of applications arrive late, Reagan said.
UHY will act as a facilitator for applicants to resolve incomplete applications.
Time slots are designed to ensure that individuals who miss deadlines are not prioritized over those who meet deadlines, and that the system does not become a race to the front of the line and all applicants are treated fairly. It’s for
Alderman Liz Miele, chairman of the committee, pointed out that the business portion of the program requires 50% match, but nonprofits do not.
The city has allocated $1 million for a grant program and is waiting to see what applications come in.
A scoring structure is established to justify why a company or nonprofit was awarded a grant.
“I have a grading rubric” Reagan said.
For clarity, this is not a decision of UHY regarding grants.
“We don’t vote” Reagan said. The company will provide the Commission with information such as whether the application is complete, whether it meets the eligibility criteria, and whether it is eligible under ARPA.
It’s up to the Council to agree or disagree, he said.
UHY ensures that the board does not waste time on applications that are ineligible under federal program guidelines.
A vote by the council will be held on Thursday, based on the council’s agenda.